Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson on Thursday was found not guilty of all charges for his role in the death of Freddie Gray.
Goodson was seen by many legal experts as the most likely officer in the Freddie Gray trial to be convicted, as he was the van driver responsible for ensuring Gray was securely fastened to his seat before being transported to custody.
Prosecutors in the case allege Goodson intentionally tried to injure Gray by driving around wildly without even putting on Gray’s seatbelt. Gray subsequently died from severe spinal injuries that he incurred as a result of his ride in the police van.
Goodson had been charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) and reckless endangerment.
Judge Barry Williams said that the state had failed to prove that the officers in the case had given Gray a “rough ride.” Furthermore, he said that the officers’ only clear mistake was not securing Gray in his seatbelt, although he said this amounted to either a “mistake” or “bad judgement,” but not criminal negligence.
The fact that Goodson has been acquitted of all charges makes it highly unlikely that any of the other three officers awaiting trial in the Freddie Gray case will be convicted.